Most Valuable Defenders in the World Right Now
The most valuable defenders in football prevent their clubs from frequently losing matches. A football team with a strong defense can strike back at their opponents without giving up control of the ball on the field. Defenders can take away the ball from attackers in the rival team before they can get a good shot on target in professional league games.
There have been a few factors that have proved useful in choosing the most valuable defenders in the world right now. The number of active years in football, their current team, and player performance on the football field have been considered before listing defenders from across the globe. Football fans can support these defenders throughout the 2024 season to help their favorite football clubs move up the leaderboard.
Watch out for these outstanding defenders who can easily turn the outcomes of football matches.
Ruben Dias is a reliable defender for Manchester City. The Portuguese footballer joined Manchester City in 2020 to become one of the highest paid domestic league players from his country. He primarily plays in the centre-back position for his team.
His debut match in the Premier League was against Leeds United. Ruben Dias played his first match with Manchester City to end the game with 1-1 draw. He began to display his prowess in the Premier League throughout the season in 2020 to be recognized as an exceptional defender.
Known for holding his ground on the football field, Ruben Dias went on to score his first goal for Manchester City against West Ham United. His solid defense for Manchester City led him to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award in the 2020-2021 season. He also won the Premier League Player of the Season award that year. He currently has a 5 year contract with Manchester City and has appeared in more than 100 matches in the Premier League.
William Saliba is a French footballer. At the age of 22, he is among the youngest defenders in the Premier League. He decided to accept a contract with Arsenal during the 2022-2023 season. His defensive abilities have helped his football team to defend goals on numerous occasions. William Saliba managed to score his first goal for Arsenal as a defender against AFC Bournemouth to win the match. It was voted as Arsenal’s Goal of the Month, providing plenty of reasons to be featured as a top player for his team.
He has played for his national team, France, in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. William Saliba was initially trained by his father. Before playing for Arsenal in the Premier League, William Saliba had played for the Saint-Étienne and FC Montfermeil.
Joško Gvardiol plays the left-back position for Manchester City. He can take charge of an assault from strikers with ease and pass the ball back to his teammates to regain possession. His tackles have been recorded in multiple matches, making him a strong defender to get across during league fixtures.
The Croatian footballer has a keen sense of ball play. Joško Gvardiol can move past midfielders to launch the ball at his attackers to score quick goals. He can maintain ball control under pressure, being able to dodge players without missing passes. Joško Gvardiol can sprint wide distances as a defender to distract footballers.
Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk is the captain of the Netherlands national team and the football club Liverpool. He is a hugely successful defender with several accolades. Early on in his football career, Virgil van Dijk played for the Celtic team and led them to a Scottish Premiership. His team also won the Scottish League Cup.
In 2018, Virgil van Dijk signed with Liverpool for a significant transfer fee. He won the UEFA Champions League in 2019 by guarding goals for Liverpool. Virgil van Dijk was also responsible for capturing the Premier League championship for his team in the 2019-2020 season after nearly 30 years. He is the only defender to win the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award in 2019.
His team, Liverpool, won the EFL Cup and FA Cup in the 2021-2022 season by letting Virgil van Dijk tackle his opponents. He was the face of the champion edition of FIFA 20 video game. With over a 100 appearances in the Premier League, Virgil van Dijk seems optimistic about his defensive moves for Liverpool.
Matthijs de Ligt
Matthijs de Ligt has been a prime player for several European clubs. Previously, he has played for Ajax and Juventus. As the youngest captain of Ajax, Matthijs de Ligt replaced Joël Veltman in 2018. Later that year, he managed to earn the coveted Golden Boy award to become the first defender to win the title.
He is currently a fierce defender for the Bundesliga club Bayern Munich. Matthijs de Ligt applies tons of effort into shooting the ball towards the attackers in his team. He uses both his feet to find the ball during tough matches. Matthijs de Ligt has played 224 matches as a defender for various football leagues in Europe. He is definitely worth considering as one of the most valuable defenders in the sport.
Cover Credit - Sky Sports